Back from two great days at William & Mary — a gorgeous campus full of polite, friendly, and relatively earnest undergraduates. The only political note was sounded by the Dean of the Faculty, who lashed out at the “politicians” and “talking-heads” who dared question the decision of the University of North Carolina faculty to require incoming freshmen to read the Koran. This controversy has been around for a while, so I won’t dwell on the obvious points such as wondering what the liberal reaction would have been had a state university required freshmen to read the Bible.
What struck me was the Dean’s argument that the stance of the politicians and talking-heads would effectively deprive students of the opportunity to learn how our enemies are misusing the Koran. This suggests that the University of Carolina (where the Dean taught for many years) was not simply trying to expose students to a major religious work, but may also have intended to “spin” the Koran and take a debatable position on the extent to which the scripture of Islam, correctly read, fuels our adversaries. In short, the instinct of those who were offended by the University of North Carolina’s gambit was justified at several levels.
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